Michalak rested for kicking balance

Date published: August 10 2015

Frédéric Michalak was left out of France's squad to face England this week because of an injury to Sébastien Tillous-Borde.

The Toulon pair are likely to start the return fixture in Paris next week but Philippe Saint-André is planning to use them together with Michalak the only goal-kicking fly-half in the squad.

As a result Morgan Parra will be involved this week, despite Saint-André trying to preserve the players who featured in the Top 14 final as much as possible.

Elsewhere François Trinh-Duc and Rémi Talès are the two fly-halves selected, while Thierry Dusautoir misses out through injury.

"To be honest, Morgan is in great form, he's been doing really well for the last fortnight. (Michalak) is the only fly-half who is a genuine goal-kicker. So from the moment that Tillous-Borde wasn't 100 percent, it made sense to keep François Trinh-Duc and Rémi Talès," explained Saint-André.

"The last step will be in Paris on August 22nd but for us the first match is important. It is for the players as well, after lots of physical work, to see where they are compared to one of the best teams in the world, and the hosts of the World Cup. 

"We're working on the rugby side of things now, on the details. We've cut back the work a bit so the players can recover. Some are ready, others need an extra week. Eleven players won't go to Twickenham and will instead stay at Marcoussis to keep working.

"I moved the squad announcement forward because the players needed to know. The game is on Saturday, they need to start their preparation for a competitive match. It was very important to announce the squad publicly: it allows everyone to get into their preparations for the match.

"For those playing at Twickenham you can see they are more attentive in the video sessions. They are checking out their opposite numbers, as they would for every international game or club match. All the players have switched into match mode."

France have been doing intensive fitness work in the Alps, before returning to their Marcoussis base to start preparation for the two games against England.

Saint-André will name his captain for Saturday's game later in the week, with both Dusautoir and vice captain Pascal Papé not involved.